Changing My Mind

Tarantula Nebula

Tarantula Nebula

“Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.” – Ali ibn abi Talib

“Contemplate these words: Nothing matters, and you think it does.” – Neale Donald Walsch

For nearly five years, my husband and I have been paying off our credit card debt. Life has been quite difficult. I know some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Not having money made us feel constrained. There was no possibility for travel, or any extras. Sometimes even things that were necessary had to wait. These five years, I’ve had to delve deeply into my attitudes about money. So often the things that hold us back are a result of beliefs we picked up as children and because we believe them without question, it’s hard to shake them off. Many of my money beliefs held me back. I didn’t believe I deserved to have money. I thought the amount of money I had defined who I was as a person and I thought that being prosperous took affluence away from others. None of that is true.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that I was beginning a tapping regimen to dig up some of those destructive thought patterns I’d accepted as truth. It’s amazing how much I’m changing because of concentrated effort to get myself straight about the purpose of money and my relationship to it.

Something I learned early in this journey was that I am NOT defined by personal possessions, the amount of money I have in the bank, or even my accomplishments. Just getting clear about that was a big relief. However, that wasn’t the end of my awakening, though for a while, I thought it was.

We’re each so much more than we show the world in our everyday lives. Some of us sense that. We know on some level that the things we do in our day-to-day lives doesn’t really matter to the Soul. We’re expanding through experiencing life, and that’s what matters. Others take life at face value and believe that the events that happen to them personally and the events out in the world, are all there is. They don’t believe there is anything more. I feel sorry for them for they must live what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls “lives of quiet desperation”. Maybe they are happy. I can’t say, since I’ve always felt that there is much more to living than can be perceived with my six senses.

I’m describing humans, who really defy description, as having an either/or approach to life. That’s not really fair, but for the purposes of my point, perhaps you will forgive me.

Anyway, for those of us who are seekers, we’re often rewarded with the perfect tool, or lesson, or friend, or teacher, when we need them most. And I was blessed just at this turning point in my life with the tapping technique and a focused meditation that have helped me dig down to those detrimental buried beliefs that I picked up along the way. As I tap, send Reiki to myself, and meditate, I see the error in concepts and beliefs that I’ve held as true for so long. I pick up each one, examine it to see if it fits who and where I am now. If it fits, I keep it. If not, I let it go. What is required is a change in perspective. That sounds easy enough, but if you’ve tried to change anything about your life, you know it takes a concentrated effort before the new habit, or attitude takes hold.

When I chose this undertaking to change my attitudes about money, I had a big obstacle to overcome. For years I’ve felt a huge block between me and money. It was almost like a physical wall inside my head. Whenever I dared dream of becoming prosperous in whatever endeavor I happened to be working on, that wall would loom large. It seemed insurmountable. I felt, for some reason, like I wasn’t meant to be successful, and have money flow to me easily. What’s more I couldn’t imagine what it felt like to never worry about money. This is the one thing I’ve been working on these five years. I’m happy to say, that with the help of the tools I’ve been given and determination to change my perception, the wall is coming down.

Even though I’ve made that big breakthrough, I’ve got more tangled emotions around money that need to be changed and healed. Just today in my meditation it came to me that I’ve held onto the belief that if I’m successful, or prosperous, that someone else is deprived. Intellectually, I know that’s hogwash. But, the thing about belief systems is they get handed down generation after generation and the idea that there isn’t enough of anything to go around is a pernicious belief that just isn’t true. What’s so bad about this particular belief system, is that we blame those who HAVE, for the poverty of those who DON’T HAVE. So, all these years, I’ve blamed people who are so much more prosperous than I am, when where I really needed to look was at myself and my beliefs about success and money. The bottom line about that is: I didn’t think I deserved it. The focus for my next stage in my healing process, is to allow myself to know that there is abundance enough for all of us. I won’t have to feel guilty about the success that I create. I can be an example for others of how to find their own success.

I’m grateful for the shifts in perception I’ve had so far. I’ll keep you posted when more insights come my way.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Musings

July Moonrise - 1…that to find beauty in everyone you must see beauty in everyone, then announce that you see it for, in announcing it, you place it there in their reality. –Neale Donald Walsch

“Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It’s the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else’s pain is as meaningful as your own.” – Barbara Kingsolver

Sometimes it’s the pits being a highly empathetic person. Just lately I’m exhausted because of it. No matter where I go, people are complaining about this, that and the other thing. They want other people to change so they can feel better, or they want this, or that from the Government. I want to scream and tell them they need to stop looking outside themselves for the things that will make them feel better. It’s only possible to find happiness and peace by doing your inner work. I’ve even written many a blog post about this topic hoping to influence my readers, so that our inner healing, will affect an outer healing. Most of the time I feel like I’m beating my head against a stone wall. I’m discouraged about that.

Then a couple of Sunday’s ago I was listening to Marianne Williamson and Oprah having a discussion on Super Soul Sunday. They were talking about Marianne’s recent political aspirations. She ran for Congress, and though she didn’t get enough votes to be nominated, the experience taught her a great deal about our political process. She’s been speaking, and posting things in Facebook about the need for us to become more active in changing our political landscape. Most of us feel beaten down by the system, which makes us apathetic. But, Marianne is calling us to action. Being a Baby Boomer, I automatically felt that I needed to be demonstrating on the streets, marching, and doing all those things I didn’t get to do as a teenager during the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements and the protests against the Vietnam War. I felt guilty about spending so much time working in private to become a more wholehearted, open and loving person.

So, today I was going to use my metaphorical pen to urge you to action. Then, I was reminded of something my father used to say: “You can’t change other people’s minds. You can only be a good example.” He was right. We each have our own path. Caroline Myss calls it our sacred contract. In fact she wrote an entire book about that. Anyway, while thinking about all my mixed up feelings and what’s happening in our country these last years, and what I can do to help bring about positive change, I decided that I’m going to stop preaching and just go back to being quiet, and doing my own spiritual work. I’ve never been one of those dynamic people who can rally thousands to their cause. I’m like my Dad. He influenced people just by being who he was, and he did that a few people at a time. Over a lifetime, he influenced a lot of people. When I decided that, I remembered something else that Marianne has said for years. Find your purpose and use it to change yourself and the world. My purpose is to interpret my personal perspective into the things I write. You can take or leave what you read here. There may be times when someone will be touched by my reflections. To influence one person for the better is a tremendous gift to the world. I’ll be happy with that.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Cynical No More

Arizona Butterfly

Arizona Butterfly

“…that the sage awakes to light in the night of all creatures. That which the world calls day is the night of ignorance to the wise..” –The Bhagavad Gita

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” –Buddha

“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness.” –The Bhagavad Gita

“I won’t let others stoke fear in my heart. I choose to remain true to who I am and where my dreams direct me, no matter the hardship I might incur. I remember it always: Fear wins or Freedom wins, and I choose Freedom.” –Brendon Burchard from page 49 of his book The Motivation Manifesto

As you might guess from all the quotes I chose today, I’m trying to make sense of what happened with the elections. I’m not too proud to say I was devastated, then angry and afraid. What’s going to happen to all the gains we’ve made in the last six years? I wanted to punch someone, scream …  and yell at God, “How could you let this happen?” Then quiet-calm came over me and I started to think more clearly.

We have a choice: We can follow the old us-against-them paradigm, OR we can turn away from that idea and create a grass-roots peaceful revolution and build a completely new society. We can continue to live in fear and think that those with the external power are stronger than those of us without it, OR we can look around our communities and find something that we have the power to address, roll up our sleeves and get to work. We can be cynical, my personal favorite when bad things happen, OR we can turn away from calling those who don’t agree with us all manner of nasty names, and just send them love. I’m choosing love.

A dear college friend of mine, Marjie Siegfried Foster, posted a similar manifesto on Facebook on Friday. Here’s what she wrote: “It is not okay to label people and then insult them. When we call any group of people names – those ‘stupid Democrats’ or those ‘hateful Republicans’ or ‘those lazy people on welfare’ or ‘those bigoted whites/blacks/immigrants’ or whatever – we are calling our neighbors, family members, friends, and colleagues those names. Would you really look me in the eye and call me stupid or hateful or lazy, just because I happen to ‘belong’ to one of the narrowly-defined demographic groups that’s been created by the media or by a political party or by you? Or do you have the courage to get to know me, to love me despite (or because of) our differences, to understand that it is our diversity that creates opportunities for collaboration? The polarizing name-calling, the labeling, the vitriolic language … all serve no purpose other than creating more division, building more walls, and hurting our fellow human beings. What happened to United We Stand? I’m standing here. Who stands with me on this?”

Marjie stated so beautifully exactly what I was feeling. Take a moment to think: Who benefits from the divisions we’re experiencing now? Do you really want those who hate and fear to have the power? We’ve been hypnotized into thinking our darker feelings are so much stronger, but they’re not. Love and light are so much more powerful. We can help dispel the darkness by facing our own fears, turning toward the light, and sending love and light out into the world.

To help make the change in the world, I’m resolved to change my thinking isn’t going to happen over night. I know from experience that I’ll fall back into name calling. When that happens, I’ll have to acknowledge what I’ve done and make a conscious effort to change my outer and inner dialogue. I can’t get away from the fact that, I am the only one in charge of my actions and thinking.  My real power, and yours lies in taking control of our actions and our thinking. So, I’m going to use my authentic power to stop being cynical. I’m going to stop calling people I don’t agree with names, even in the privacy of my head. I’m going to search out opportunities to get to know my neighbors and I’m going to help solve problems in my community. And finally, every day, I’m going to send Reiki and prayers of love to our country and the people who run it. As Gandhi said, I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world. Will you join Marjie and me?

One last quote for your consideration: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth. –William Faulkner. I’ll keep raising my “voice” every week in this blog.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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A Dish of Forgiveness All Around

Chapel of the Red Rocks

Chapel of the Red Rocks

“When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear …. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.” –Gerald G. Jampolsky

“When you know better, you do better.” –Maya Angelou

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of Super Soul Sunday on OWN. Last Sunday, Oprah’s guest was one of my favorite teachers and authors, Marianne Williamson. They began talking about Marianne’s campaign for nomination as a Congressional candidate, but late in the discussion their conversation turned to the violence in Ferguson, Missouri and what that’s all about. Oprah brought up an article that Marianne had written for the Huffington Post. You can click the link and go read it for yourself. I don’t want to rehash what Marianne has already written so beautifully. What I do want to write about is the mental and emotional journey I’ve been taking since listening to Marianne and Oprah’s discussion.

First of all let me state that I am a white person. I was raised to believe that EVERYONE deserves to be treated with respect, so some of the discussions that have been going on lately about how white people need to take a good look at their attitudes about racism, rubbed me the wrong way. But Oprah and Marianne’s discussion got me thinking about forgiveness. Slavery was one of the most horrendous episodes in our nation’s history. Another one is how we treated the Native Americans. White people, for the most part, were behind both of those terrible situations. I think Marianne is right, white people don’t want to think of the horrible things that whites did in our country’s past. Most of us think that we weren’t alive then, so it has nothing to do with us.

But here’s the thing, we’ll never heal our racial wounds if we don’t forgive ourselves for our impulse to ignore what happened. We can’t expect anything to get better if we don’t take responsibility for what’s happening right now. And what’s happening right now is, whites want to point to the Civil Right’s Movement of the 60s and 70s and say, “It’s already been healed. The laws have been passed, we’re all equal now.” As we’re seeing in recent events, that’s just not true. The discussion and practice to make everyone equal is far from over.

So, I take responsibility for my assumption that African American’s just needed to forgive us and move on, and for not forgiving myself and my ancestors for what they may have done. We as white people need to stop glossing over our discomfort with what has happened to African and Native Americans due to white aggression and greed. We need to look into those dark places and expose our true feelings about the differences of race and culture in this country. We need to acknowledge that we’re not the top of the heap, and in reality, never have been.

If we’re going to survive the myriad problems we face right now, we need to do some deep soul searching and forgive ourselves and then others. We’ve got to stop letting the past get in our way of creating a new future.

This blog is my public declaration that I’m committed to healing and forgiving myself for not acknowledging the deep wounds caused by white people in our country’s history. I’m with Marianne and support any efforts our government makes to make reparation to any group that we’ve wronged. Making reparation is our collective acknowledgement of what happened, and that we want to make it as right as possible and build a new future together.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Having Money Give Options

Julia working at the wheel

Julia working at the wheel

“Without Freedom, creativity cannot flourish. The right to freedom is crucial to progress in any society; and the context is having a sense of global responsibility.” –Dalai Lama

“Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.” –Nelson Mandela

“The lack of money is the root of all evil.” –Mark Twain

This past weekend The Pottery Studio At Sierra Vista, which evolved out of my husband’s pottery classes, held their seventh annual Empty Bowls Project fund raiser. To find out more about the history of how The Empty Bowls Project got started, click here.  It’s now an international movement of loosely organized, local groups. Each group solicits donations of handmade pottery bowls, soup and bread. Those attending the event, pick out a bowl, give a suggested donation of $10 and then they sit down to a simple meal of soup and bread. The handmade bowls are a reminder that there a many bowls that remain empty in our communities. The funds raised go to local food banks.

The studio in our town is located inside one of the community centers run by the city, which supports and sponsors our local Empty Bowls Project every year. We’re fortunate to live in a generous community that has helped the project become a must attend event each year.

To give you a perspective on how much our little event has grown, the first year there were about 200 donated bowls and about $2,000 dollars was earned. All proceeds were given to local food banks. Over the past 7 years many people have become involved to make the event a success. Schools, the local community college and individual artists donate their talents at special events to create the bowls, and each year more local restaurants donate soup and bread. By comparison, this year, over 2,000 bowls were donated, and about $15,000 was raised. For a community of between 50,000 and 65,000 people, if you count the outlying areas, that’s a huge amount of growth. Needless to say, our county agencies can use all the help they can get.

I don’t think the county I live in is much different than others around the country. There are a lot of people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and a large percentage of those people are children. $15,000 will be a big help, but it won’t stretch to feed all the hungry people in our area for long.

On Sunday, after the Empty Bowls event, Barry gave a talk about the Project at the Unitarian Universalist church. During the talk, I overheard one gentleman say, “It’s sad that we live in the wealthiest country in the world and yet there are so many homeless and hungry people.” That is sad. But it doesn’t need to be our story. We can change it by rolling up our sleeves and getting to work, healing our inner money issues, and helping each other.

I wrote all of the above to help you understand the point of this post. To be free each person needs enough money so that they don’t have to worry about having enough food, a decent place to live, clothes on their bodies, proper health care, and all the other essentials of a good life. I get that because Barry and I have been struggling with money issues our entire married life. That’s why I decided to begin the tapping regimen that I mentioned last week. There have been times when Barry and I had to decide between paying a bill or buying groceries. We’ve never been destitute. We’ve always had a roof over our heads. But, to get just a taste of the struggles some people experience for long periods of time, makes me feel compassion for them.

Something we don’t often think about is that struggles with money are not just about earning a living wage. They’re also about finding your place in the world, and fulfilling your purpose.

For the last five years, Barry and I have been paying off our credit cards. It’s part of our long term plan to find financial freedom. During that time, we’ve been living within our means. It’s been a hard, but good lesson. Now we are on the verge of having surplus money and as a result, we’ve been talking about how to best use it. On the way home from church, we decided that we can give a monthly donation to our local food banks. This will help families who struggle each month to put food on the table.

To give food to people in need is one thing, but we decided we also need to support agencies that help provide education. We believe the old saying, “If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he’ll eat for a lifetime.” With proper education, many struggling families can find not only higher paying jobs, but self-esteem and hopefully their true purpose.

Of course there are so many other problems around this issue that need to be addressed, like raising the minimum wage, providing low income housing to more families and the like. However, one person can only do so much. It’s better to address one or two problems than to get overwhelmed and not do anything.

I’m glad to say that now that I’m seeing money in a new way, I feel more generous. For a long time when I got money, I wasn’t sure when I’d be getting more, so I hoarded it. I know now there is always more money on it’s way to me, which makes me more determined to share what I’ve got.

Barry and I are using our talents and our money to help people have enough food to eat and education to help them feel better about themselves. How will you help?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Calla Lilies

Suffering is Optional

Calla Lilies

Calla Lilies

“Let us never allow our daily doubts or private fears to blind us to the blessings all around.” –Brendon Burchard

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” –Carl Jung

“The only difference between heaven and hell is believing a thought.” –Byron Katie

Sometimes the cosmic tumblers fall into place and the door opens up to a new level of growth and healing. This recently happened for me. For years I’ve been working to clean up all the beliefs that I learned growing up that no longer serve my present life. I thought I was pretty close to being finished with that phase of growing into my full potential, but wouldn’t you know it, I got hit in the face with a big road block that I thought I’d healed these past few years.

About a year ago, I was introduced to The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. Tapping is a way to reprogram your brain to release old, long-held beliefs that no longer serve you, or that have been holding you back. It’s also a great way to heal physical conditions or pain that you might be experiencing. I’ve used it off and on since my introduction to it and I’ve had fantastic results.

Last week I saw an invitation on Facebook from Nick to a free webinar about using Tapping to heal money issues and gain true abundance. I knew this was a teaser for a web course, but I decided to attend the webinar anyway. Tapping had been working for me in other areas of my life, why not see if it would help me get over the last humps of my money blocks. I decided not to sign up for the course, however, I did learn great techniques from the webinar. I’m going to use them to take another step on my healing journey.

As we practiced the tapping techniques, I was surprised to find a much larger network of beliefs, some of them long forgotten, about money that have been holding me back. I took the worksheet that Nick so generously gave us for free and began to dismantle those old beliefs. Each day tapping is part of my morning regimen. I record the shifts in my consciousness in my journal, and send Reiki to myself to help speed this process along.

I was reminded about how much suffering I can endure. It’s sad that most of us have learned to bury our pain deep inside and cover it over thinking that’s the best way to deal with it; that if we do that we won’t have to face the pain and suffering ever again. That’s not what happens, though.

I wish I could remember which spiritual teacher said, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” In my case, I’ve been choosing to believe something about my relationship with money that’s not true. And my husband and I have suffered because of those erroneous beliefs.

As I was thinking about this post, I was reminded of the pilot episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that illustrates so perfectly where I am in my life.

Commander Benjamin Sisko is assigned to clean up a situation in a far outpost of the Federation at a space station, Deep Space Nine. It orbits the planet Bajor. Benjamin has recently lost his wife in a terrible battle. He’s emotionally wounded. When he arrives he finds that the Bajorans are a very spiritual people and their government is run by spiritual leaders. He’s surprised to find one of the leaders, Kai Opaka, has come to inform him that his coming was foretold. He is the long awaited emissary. Of course, he’s skeptical. But when Kai Opaka presents him with the Tear of the Prophet, a mysterious looking orb, and he touches it, he enters an alternate reality where he has conversations with the Prophets. They ask him questions about his life. To his frustration, they take him back, again and again, to the moment of his wife’s death. They’re curious about these images he holds in his consciousness. He asks the Prophets why they keep taking him back to this moment in his life that is so painful. Their answer: “You exist here.” Sisko has been unable to heal after his wife’s death, so he relives the moment he found her, and realizes he can’t save her. The pain is so great, he can’t get past it. It’s in that confrontation with the Prophets that he knows he’s been torturing himself by being unwilling to face losing his beloved wife. He can’t face building a new life for himself and his son without her. This encounter with the Prophets helps him choose healing over repeated suffering.

I don’t think I’m alone in doing what the character Benjamin Sisko did in the TV show. I’ve been living with a certain set of beliefs about myself and money. I’ve been blocking a more prosperous and fulfilling life for myself. Experience has taught me that sometimes we hold onto our suffering thinking we deserve it, or if we deal with our pain, we’re being disloyal to those we’ve lost. Or we can’t see the path before us without the pain and suffering. We can’t imagine a better life. Sometimes we believe we will never be happy again. There are lots of reasons why we get emotionally and mentally stuck. I’ve been stuck and I’ve decided to allow myself to move on.

As Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” I find that idea comforting. I get a second and a third chance to improve my life by dealing with the issues that I’ve not yet finished healing. Now is the time for me to finish the work of healing my relationship with money. Who knows what issues I’ll be healing this time next year.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Fear and Decisions

Fear“Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” –Pema Chodron

“Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Fear is a liar. It whispers in our ear that if we control that person, circumstance or situation, we’ll feel better. But fear lives inside not outside of us. So when your attempts to control outside events fail, it grows into a monster threatening to eat us alive. It cripples all aspects of our life, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, unless its faced. I know this from personal experience.

There have been times in my life when I made a choice based on fear’s advice. One instance was when, as a new college graduate, I took a job I knew in the pit of my stomach was not the right situation for me. Fear said, “Take the job. You might not get another offer. You need the money.” Foolishly I listened and for two years I worked for a toxic company. It was only when I nearly had a nervous breakdown, as we used to call them, that I woke up and faced my fear. Leaving that supposedly secure position was one of the best decisions of my life.

Elections are a prime time for politicians and commentators to spew fear. Natural disasters, war, or health threats are other times when fear whispers to those vulnerable to its call. Right now we’re in a vortex of events where, in my mind, Fear is rejoicing that there are so many people to feed upon. That’s a metaphor I chose on purpose. Fear feeds upon us.

I want to make it clear, we ALL feel fear from time-to-time. We can’t escape that fact. However, we can reduce or eliminate it with practice.

This is what I’ve learned in my process of facing fear. Its not strong. We think of fear as all powerful. Maybe because of the powerful emotions it evokes. But fear can’t stand up to scrutiny. When I’ve allowed myself to face my fear fully, then look beyond it to the myriad possibilities that fear is trying to hide from me, it dissolves. Not all at once, but the more I turn away from my fear, the more it shrinks.

There have been a number of times in my life when I know my family, and even some of my friends did not understand the choices I made. They thought I was crazy. Quitting my teaching job to become a writer, selling my house to fund a trip around the world, quitting that first job that was so toxic to get my Master’s in theatre. Oh, I’m sure many of my family members still shake their heads at the choices I’ve made.

But the thing is, it’s the people who look fear in the face that we admire. I admire Gabby Giffords, who was my Congresswoman, and now advocates for stricter gun regulations. Malala Yousafzai who promotes education for girls all over the world. The fearful tried to silence them by shooting them, but when they didn’t die, those two women became more powerful than ever before.

There are so many other people who’s names we don’t know, who are facing fear every day and winning. They are becoming powerful and doing great and creative things that contribute to all of humanity. We need them all if we’re going to create a new way to live that is more loving, more sustainable, more joyful.

We can’t control events outside ourselves. All we can control is our response to what happens to us. We can control our response to fear. Remember that when you go into the voting booth in a few weeks, or choose what to watch on TV or which pundits to listen too. Are they spreading fear, or hope?

It’s my prediction that the tide will turn away from fear. That we’ll take responsibility for embracing hope and love instead. That we’ll accept that life is unpredictable which makes living exciting. There can be a bright future ahead of us, if we choose it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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How I Got the Idea for My Book

Dad, Lucinda, Mom

Dad, Lucinda, Mom

“If you want your children to be trustworthy, you have to trust them.” –James Calvin Sage

“People who hurt others are wounded themselves. They think hurting others will help them feel better, but that never works. It makes them feel worse. The only way to help them heal is to love them.” –James Calvin Sage

When authors are interviewed, they are almost always asked, “How did you get the idea for your book?” I’m about to publish my first novel, The Space Between Time, and I’ve been thinking about the answer to that question. The answer is: I wrote it for my Dad.

I started the book in 1999 after a visit to my parents. They lived in Quartzsite, Arizona at the time. My father had his first open heart surgery in the mid-80s and though I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that he would die of the disease one day, up until that trip, he had seemed much the same as he’d always been. That weekend I knew that he’d taken a turn for the worse.

On the five hour drive home, the idea for the book formed in my mind. I wanted to write about a father and daughter and their close relationship. I also wanted to have the twist of a character in the present with some connection to father and daughter but that storyline was very unclear to me.

When Barry and I got home, I sat down at the computer and began writing the storyline that was most vivid, the one set in 1858 Vermont with Morgan and her father Thomas. Of course, the character of Thomas Carlyle was designed after my Dad. In tribute to him, I gave him the professions he would have loved, minister, scholar, writer and teacher. Though, in a way those professions did describe my Dad. His daytime job was as a machinist, but he was a lay minister in our church as well. And even though he’d dropped out of school because of undiagnosed dyslexia, he taught himself to read, which he did voraciously. My father was infinitely curious about everything. So, in a way, he was very much like Thomas Carlyle.

The other things that I incorporated into Thomas that were like my Dad, was his wanderlust, and a deep love and understanding of his fellow human beings. Though Thomas hadn’t traveled a great deal, he wanted to travel west to build a new life. Unfortunately, he fell ill, making the trip impossible for him. He does, however, encourage Morgan to make the journey on her own and build a new life for herself. That’s very much like my dad. He was always encouraging us to go do things he’d never been able to do himself.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, shortly after I started the book, I had to set it aside because I began teaching full-time. So the book sat unfinished for eleven years. In the mean time, things happened to me that helped me understand how to write the timeline in the present. Also, my father died in 2004. That was ten years ago this month. It’s fitting that the novel that he inspired is now nearly ready for publication. I’ve got a better perspective on my relationship with my Dad, what I learned from him and how those lessons helped me navigate some deeply challenging times in my own life. I’m grateful to have had him as my father. I know he’d be proud of my accomplishment.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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Fall Cocoon

My Favorite Books

My Favorite Books

“How beautiful it is to do nothing at all and then rest afterwards.” –Spanish Proverb

“I make no secret of the fact that I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it.” –Shirley Conran

“There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” –Alan cohen

Every fall I feel myself going into hibernation, or cocoon mode. It feels like lots of transformation is going on under the surface, but whatever changes are happening to me aren’t ready to see the light of day as yet. I’m not quite sure what it’s all about, except that I have to stop trying to do so much and allow the process to happen. All I know is I’ve entered a season of quiet, and I must honor it.

In this country we think that to be worthwhile, we must be active, always doing, accomplishing something. I think it’s our Puritan work ethic which is slowly killing us. Work is good if it’s meaningful, but too much is detrimental to our health. Our bodies are designed to rejuvenate in sleep. The mind needs to be quiet. We need to refresh and renew every so often, instead of pushing ourselves to the limit. I believe that when we don’t allow ourselves to relax, we develop insomnia, nervous disorders, and other health problems. I’m not a doctor, or scientist. I didn’t take the time to research my statements. I’m just going by what happens to me when I try to push myself too hard.

This past spring, we had a short visit from a friend from Australia. He’s a Law Professor. His University gives him $25,000.00 travel stipend every year. They want him to go explore, make connections, get out of the office and learn something new. On top of that Australians get four weeks of paid vacation, and paid maternity leave. I’m envious. There are times when I wish I lived in a country that valued planned idleness and play, because that’s when inspiration and innovation come to us. I know my mind works much better when I’ve allowed myself to rest and focus on something other than the current project on which I’m working.

So, I’m going to follow my inclination to read lots of books, allow what I write to meander in fanciful ways. I’m going to take naps and generally enjoy myself this fall and winter. I hope you take some time off to play and relax when you need it too.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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History Repeats Itself Until…

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

“Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.” –Franklin D. Roosevelt

This weekend my husband and I binge watched The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. We were struck with how similar events during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Presidency are to events that have happened in the last few years, and are still happening today. Isn’t that always the way, though. Even in our personal lives. We repeat lessons until we pay attention to what we need to learn from them.

The events we’re living with right now are so bleeping uncomfortable. Add to that the personal struggles each of us are going through and it’s no wonder we’re all freaking out a little bit. However, you may think I’m weird, but, for the most part I’ve learned to welcome challenges.

In my personal life, when I’m feeling uncertain or fearful, I know I’m getting a huge blessing. The Universe is telling me there is something extraordinary I need to be looking at. If I heed the call instead of poking my head in the sand, I’m always rewarded.

Right now the challenges I’m facing all have to do with the publication of my first novel, The Space Between Time. I’m in new territory here. I’ve never written a novel before and something tells me my life will be irrevocably changed when the book comes out.

Part of the reason I feel this way has to do with something that happened one day shortly after I made the decision to quit teaching. I was cleaning up my room at the end of the school year, thinking about my decision to teach one more year. But as I was packing, the thought came to me that if I chose I could trust the Universe and quit at that very moment. Instead of squashing the possibility, I considered it, which brought a flood of what I can only describe as ecstasy. I knew without a doubt I was on the right path. That I was supposed to take this step into being a writer. The extraordinary thing about that feeling was it lasted through the rest of my packing, and the hour drive home.

It ended up that I chose not to quit that day. I took my signed contract to the school district office on the deadline day with a little bit of a heavy heart. But, that last year of teaching was amazing, and I don’t regret my decision. However, ever since my extraordinary experience, I’ve had this feeling that no matter what, I’m meant to be a writer. Every morning when I wake up I know I get to do this amazing job and I feel immensely blessed.

That doesn’t mean that thinking about all the possibilities of my future as a writer doesn’t make me crazy sometimes. I’m an introvert, so the thought of attracting even a little bit of attention is daunting. But I’m building a new life for myself, like my two main characters in my novel, Jenna in the present, and Morgan in the past. I’m choosing to step out of my comfort zone following where Spirit leads me. I wouldn’t change my decision to become a writer for the world.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

That brings me back to Theodore, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. They are fantastic examples of people who looked for and followed their calling. They weren’t perfect people. They each suffered great tragedies in their lives. But they didn’t let those stop them from embracing life to the fullest. They did the very best they could with the life they had. That’s what I want to do. I want to do the best I can with this life I have, because doing that will influence someone, maybe a lot of someones. And isn’t that why we’re here? To make connections with, learn from, and inspire each other?

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2014

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